by Stephanie Faris
Published on 18 March 2014
use data analytics to drive decisions
Businesses today are using data to drive decisions. To remain competitive, companies must find ways to extract data on every aspect of their business and find ways to use that data to inform their operations.
Looker seeks to make data analytics accessible to everyone, providing access to detailed data through an easy-to-use web interface. This Looker review shows how the app can make data insights available to the whole organization.
Established in 2011, Looker acknowledges the growing popularity of data analytics software and takes an innovative approach to giving businesses access to comprehensive information. With a customer base that includes Hotel Tonight, MessageMe, Kiip, Gilt, Mindjet, Upworthy and Simply Hired, Looker is working with some of today's most innovative businesses.
Looker operates on top of organization's databases, and because the software is browser-based, it's easy to set up and maintain. Using the Locker interface, both an organization's data scientists and its business users can stay abreast of essential information. By attaching to an organization's SQL analytics database or data warehouse, Looker can provide real-time information on a business's website performance, call logs, incoming sales, financial performance, and more.
For data teams, Looker's LookML is an agile modeling language that makes data analytics both powerful and flexible. Based on a modern development paradigm, LookML streamlines the process of connecting information in the database to the people within the organization who can use it.
Looker's web interface opens up data access to members across an organization, allowing team members to easily collaborate on the information being extracted. Executives and managers will also be more up to date on customer purchases and feedback, allowing them to respond more quickly.
But Looker takes analytics a step further, providing users the ability to pull information -about customers, products, finances, and the like- in real time. This information can be used to understand buying patterns, to identify revenue issues, or to improve product features. Looker's web services API can also be used to create custom applications.
Logging in takes users directly to their own "Looks" page, which lists all the data views they have saved.
Clicking on one of these Looks takes the user to the corresponding data.
Detailed data view
Through the drop-down selections on each row, users can filter results, clicking on "Run" on the left to execute selections.
Clicking the Save button on the left pulls up a File Save box to allow users to create a new Look from the data they have just pulled. This new Look will be added to the list on their Looks page.
Saving a new Look from the extracted data
Clicking on the Visualize button in the bottom left corner gives users the opportunity to choose from a variety of graphing and charting options, useful for better understanding the data as well as for reporting purposes.
Graphing and charting options
Unlimited analytical support for Looker is available via live chat.
After a free trial, users are charged a monthly/quarterly fee based on the number of users and database connections. Compared with other data analytics solutions, Looker offers affordable pricing.
Looker is a comprehensive solution that helps businesses achieve their data analysis goals. Because its reporting tools allow multiple people to see data for themselves, data teams will be freed to focus on the work of modeling data and solving larger data problems, rather than constantly running queries and issuing reports upon request. While the features may take time for the business user to learn, Looker offers training demos that can help ease the transition for everyone in an organization.
Ratings: ease of use 3/5, features 5/5, value 4/5